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Players Championship Finals 2021 Day Three preview and order of play | Final eight collide in Minehead

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PDC Order of Merit following the 2021 Players Championship Finals

Wright edges past Searle to clinch Players Championship Finals title

Jamie Shaw in Players Championship Finals 29 Nov 2021
Wright raises the trophy (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Peter Wright claimed the Players Championship Finals title for the first time after a thrilling 11-10 win over Ryan Searle in the final in Minehead.

The world number two secured his fifth major ranking title in dramatic fashion as he denied Searle a famous first triumph on the televised stage.

Searle had battled back from 10-8 down to force a decider after Wright had bust 129 in the 19th leg before missing three match darts.

The Somerset star piled on the pressure with a 177 to leave 24 against the throw in the deciding leg, but only for Wright to produce a nerveless 62 checkout to seal the £100,000 top prize.

“It’s the only final I’ve never played in – I enjoyed it,” said Wright.

“I knew it was going to be a tough game against Ryan; it’s taken a little while for him to settle and show what he can do on TV. He’s an immense player.

“In the second half of the match I was going at Ryan’s pace and I was thinking ‘I’m running out of energy here’. I took a breather and lucky enough I got through.

“The guys who normally do well in this tournament do okay in the next one so it’s nice to do well in this one.

“Obviously, I’ve got to back my big mouth up because I said I’m going to win the Worlds, so I’ve got to get back on the practice board and make sure I’m sharp. I believe I will be World Champion come January 3.”

Wright had cruised past Jonny Clayton 11-6 in the Semi-Finals, having also defeated reigning and six-time champion Michael van Gerwen 10-6 in the Quarter-Finals earlier in the day.

The first ten legs of the final all went with throw as the pair were locked at five apiece before Searle secured the first break after the second interval.

Wright, though, broke back immediately in leg 12 with a 96 checkout and took out 141 to extend his lead to 8-6.

Three missed darts at doubles from ‘Snakebite’ in leg 15 allowed Searle a reprieve as he cleaned up 96 to stay in touch, before landing double one to restore parity at eight-all.

Wright then won back-to-back legs to move to the verge of victory before incredibly busting 129 then missing double six at the second attempt, allowing Searle in to take out 103 and stay alive.

Wright missed a third match dart in the following leg and Searle landed double ten for a 13-darter to set up a grand-stand finish at 10-10.

World Matchplay champion Wright kicked off the decider with a maximum before Searle set up double 12 after a 177, but he was never afforded a match dart as the Scot coolly converted double 16 to seal victory.

A memorable weekend for Searle saw him twice survive match darts in the first two rounds and edge out Daryl Gurney 10-9 in the Quarter-Finals, before ending the charge of Brendan Dolan in the Semi-Finals.

“I’d have felt like I robbed that game if I’d have won it at the end there,” admitted Searle. “Fair play to Peter, he took out the double and he fully deserved that.

“I learned a lot from this experience and we move forward from here.”

Searle’s run to the final sees him move into the top 16 on the PDC Order of Merit for the first time going into next month’s World Championship at Alexandra Palace.

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Players Championship Finals 2021 Day Three Results

Sunday November 28

Afternoon Session

Quarter-Finals
Jose de Sousa 4-10 Brendan Dolan
Daryl Gurney 9-10 Ryan Searle
Peter Wright 10-6 Michael van Gerwen
Jonny Clayton 10-3 Vincent van der Voort

Evening Session

Semi-Finals
Brendan Dolan 6-11 Ryan Searle
Peter Wright 11-6 Jonny Clayton

Final
Peter Wright 11-10 Ryan Searle

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